DNR will not take action on Silver Creek smell
Silver Creek

Silver Creek hasn’t smelled too pleasant the last few years adjacent to Jaystone Apartments.

But, so far this summer, it hasn’t been too bad.

So when Jaystone Apartment manager Bob Ferber was told late last week the DNR was stepping back its investigation into the issue, he wasn’t too concerned.

“I’m optimistic in a couple areas,” he said, noting the smell is better and the bacteria levels in the creek have gone down this summer. “... After talking to the DNR and the health people, this isn’t over.”

It isn’t over, but it isn’t a priority for the DNR anymore, either.

While the DNR agrees the problem hasn’t gone away — sulfur-reducing bacteria still live in the creek, and they’re still releasing hydrogen sulfide — the DNR no longer will be actively pursing the issue.

Why?

Because it is not considered a major threat to human health or the environment, though it could affect some sensitive individuals.

That’s the upshot of its nearly two-year investigation into why Silver Creek smells like rotten eggs near where it goes under Pacific Street.

The DNR has closed out the look into the issue, noting that while it’s unpleasant — or worse, for those with respiratory issues — it’s not a major hazard. Therefore, it will not be taking any steps to remedy the odor.

In addition to calling Ferber, the DNR informed the neighbors most affected by the smell — Jaystone Apartments — via a letter to Ferber late last week.

“Analysis of the data indicates that the hydrogen sulfide odor is caused by sulfur-reducing bacteria, which occur naturally in nature,” wrote Roxanne Chronert, the DNR team supervisor for the investigation. “These bacteria utilize sulfur compounds found naturally in the bedrock and groundwater and which are plentiful in the area. The hydrogen sulfide gas is released when groundwater is released into Silver Creek from groundwater seeps ...

“Based on the determination that the source of the odor is due to natural process and the low health risk associated with the odor, the department is planning no further investigative work at this time ...”

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